When designing a part for direct digital manufacturing, keep one important rule in mind: forget all the rules! Direct digital manufacturing or DDM frees design engineers from worry about design constraints that come with traditional manufacturing processes. Additive manufacturing can build any geometry regardless of complexity without adding difficulty or cost. For example, you don’t have to worry about draft angles or parting lines for injection molding a part. And you don’t need to consider tooling as you may need to when machining a particular feature. You can even incorporate internal voids or make the walls hollow to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio.
"How to Design Your Part for Direct Digital Manufacturing" is a Stratasys white paper that explains how to take full advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing during the design process. Here's the first of four excerpts from the paper along with a link to the full paper
A fundamental advantage of DDM, which is often touted, is the “freedom of design.” In general terms, it is obvious what this implies, but how far does this freedom reach? What can a design engineer do with it, and what does he or she need to know? Essentially, design for manufacturability (DFM) rules are discarded. Design is no longer constrained by the limitations of conventional manufacturing processes. This frees the product development team to design the perfect part for the application. Following are just a few examples of typical injection molding rules that don’t apply to direct digital manufacturing.
View or download the complete How to Design Your Part for Direct Digital Manufacturing white paper.